Former Oklahoman City Editor Mark Hutchison, who battled paralysis with the same incredible vigor that he used to exhort reporters into action, died Wednesday. He was 49.
Hutchison struggled with health issues for some time and died about 11 a.m. in an Oklahoma City hospital, family members said.
The news business is all about speed and Hutchison was a master of instilling urgency in young reporters.
“Hurry!” Hutchison would bark as deadlines approached.
Then he would chuckle as reporters furiously hammered away on their keyboards, struggling to meet his demands.
In one of life's cruel ironies, Hutchison later would lose his ability to hurry in a tragic 2007 fishing accident.
He and a group of friends had gone fishing at a remote spot on the Glover River in McCurtain County when Hutchison slipped, struck a rock, and tumbled into the river, landing face down in 4 inches of water.
Paralyzed from the chest down, Hutchison somehow managed to push his nose up out of the water.
After 30 minutes to an hour of hollering for help, one of his friends finally heard him and came to his rescue.
The accident changed Hutchison's physical abilities forever, but it never sapped the tenacity with which he approached life.
Rehabilitation workers marveled at his determination, and in 2009 Hutchison was one of three Oklahomans presented with the Courage Award by the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Hospital.
Hutchison said at the time that the accident and recovery had left him a different man — that from that point on he measured life in small triumphs, like holding a spoon, doing laundry, cooking and changing the sheets on his bed without help.
And he made a commitment to spend more time with his three daughters.
“I'm much more humble and appreciative of the smaller things,” he said then. “All I did was recover from an accident so I could take care of my children. That's the No. 1 priority for me.”
Daughters Brooke, Brandi and Bethany were the loves of his life.
The full depth of that love shone through in a story Hutchison wrote in 2008 about a deer hunting trip he took with daughter Brandi a year and a half after the accident.View/sign the guest book
Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Sunday at